Nobody thought that the happy little world of laundry detergents would see any major changes, until the introduction of laundry capsules a few years ago.

These palm-sized pouches pack one heck of a punch, allowing you to throw your detergent into the machine, along with your laundry. They minimise the risks of messy, hard-to-clean detergent spills, while releasing a perfect mix of detergent, fabric softener, and fresh scents into your wash. A godsend for busy people with busy lives.

But much like fire, new solutions come with a host of new problems – some simply inconvenient, and others downright dangerous. Here is what you need to know as you try these awesome little pods out.

Keep them dry!

A big part of any laundry capsule’s design is its easily dissolving pouch that contains the actual detergent, which breaks apart to release the liquids once it comes into contact with water in the washing machine.

Singapore’s warm and humid weather can make these soluble pouches extra sensitive and fragile, so avoid handling them with wet or damp hands, and store them in a cool, dry area to minimise the risk of puncturing as you handle them.

Most packaging for laundry capsules should specify a minimum temperature to wash your clothes at, for the capsule to properly dissolve. Ensuring that your capsules are kept below that specified temperature should prevent it from unintended breakage due to heat.

Handle with extra care

Despite its smaller volume, laundry capsules can be as effective as regular detergent because its liquids are far more concentrated. Given this increased strength, it’s best if you can stay away from touching the liquids at all. If for any reason, you think the capsule may not dissolve as intended in the wash, dissolve beforehand it in a small container filled with warm or hot water, and pour the contents into your machine’s detergent tray as you would with regular detergent.

In doing research, we found multiple articles cautioning against cutting the capsule open to pour its contents out.

Why lah. Just use it as intended lah.

Hide yo tods. Hide yo kids.

You’ve seen the many reports of teens messing around with laundry capsules for a “challenge”. Media outlets have gone crazy screaming about its potentially fatal consequences. Yes, if you haven’t already made the connection, Tide Pods are one of the many brands of laundry capsules available today.

While no one has actually died from swallowing or biting into a laundry capsule, extremely colourful, highly concentrated detergents, sealed in extremely soluble pouches, have proven to be a very lethal combination in the presence of young kids and toddlers, who can easily mistake the pods for juicy candy. Ever since capsules were first introduced in 2010, thousands of emergency calls have been placed after accidental ingestion of laundry capsules. If you have young inquisitive kids, keep these capsules on a high shelf, or under lock and key if necessary. Safety before convenience!

Know your load

Despite official instructions printed on the packaging, most home-sized washing machines only require one capsule per maximum load – another testament to how concentrated these detergents are. This blog post suggests to use two capsules only if you have or use a machine large enough to wash 10kg of laundry, or more, at once.

Dealing with stains

One of the most common mistakes when using laundry capsules is to throw it in after your laundry load. Laundry capsules should be the first to go into the machine, at the back of the washing drum, to maximise its effect.

As you learn how to use laundry capsules in a way that best suits your household, look out for signs that your laundry load or wash settings may not be balanced with the capsule’s portion. Check once your wash cycle is over that your laundry is 1) not still soapy, and 2) that there aren’t streaks of colour or spots. The latter is an indication that the capsule’s liquids may not have been evenly distributed.

If your laundry is still soapy, run a second wash cycle immediately without any additional detergent. If you see streaks or colour spots, this article by leading laundry detergent brand Persil recommends using a combination of warm water and rubbing alcohol to remove the stain.

Still reading? Congratulations! You should be armed with a good amount of knowledge to start using laundry capsules smartly. Ready to try them out? Check out these brands listed on Qoo10:

If you’ve been using the capsules for awhile, what are some tips and tricks that people don’t often know or talk about? Let us know in the comments below!